By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Family: People Helping People project plans to host a major anti-crime rally this evening to present its 10-point plan to arrest the nation’s crime woes.
Organisers said in order to decrease crime, officials must first address the underlining issues of anger in the country.
The Helping Our People Everywhere (HOPE) rally, which is scheduled for 7 o’clock tonight at St Gregory’s Church on Carmichael Road, will feature presentations by noted psychiatrist Dr David Allen, Lavita Thurston, recovered addict Andre Chappelle and Anglican Diocese Bishop Laish Boyd.
According to the group, police resources are not enough to combat the present scourge of crime. Officials recommended that Royal Bahamas Defence Force officers be placed on patrol in high crime areas along with curfews being imposed and closed circuit television (CCTV).
“We know that this strategy is debatable, but drastic times demand drastic measures. Curfews must be well planned, clearly defined and efficiently executed.
“Our nation is at war, and citizens living in certain areas report to us that they feel they actually live in a war zone. No group of young men should be allowed to hold a whole country and its citizens hostage. War means that all hands must be on deck. You have to fight power with more power,” said a group spokesman.
“Our law enforcement agents go into a war zone, day and night, and their lives are in danger, making their families vulnerable. We need to do more to support them, and in particular, to provide more robust psychological support. Implementation of a family programme for police would provide psychological support.”
The group also recommended mandatory national service and a residential programme for at-risk young men, reporting that males between the ages of 16 and 25 are responsible for the majority of violent crime in our country. The group said it intends to establish a small voluntary residential programme for at-risk youth to help lower that statistic.
Data compiled by the People Helping People project, through its 26 focus groups in New Providence indicates that the major issues facing country are anger, violence, grief and sadness, relationship dysfunction and abuse.
Research studies of those attending project sessions for six months or more show a decrease in anger, violence, revenge and depression and an increase in self-esteem and forgiveness.
The Family programme is a research-based project founded by Dr Allen and funded by The Templeton World Charity Foundation.
The project counsels around 400 persons weekly.
Ahead of tonight’s anti-crime rally, officials are calling on the government to appoint a crime advisory council made up of the public and private sector. Such a council could interpret government policy on behalf of the community while making the community’s needs clear to government, the group said.
The proposed council would also study previous violent attacks and homicides in an effort to identify similarities in incidents, hoping to provide the government with predictors of violence.
Additionally, officials demanded nationwide anger management and conflict resolution training programmes be established.
The Family programme intends to publish completed results of its project’s findings next month.